Man....this was a tough one for me! Anyone that knows ANYTHING about me, knows there is one thing I do not tolerate well....LYING! And I don't mean I simply don't like it. I mean I get physiological symptoms behind it. My body instantly gets flush, my heart races, I begin sweating, I start stuttering (if I'm talking), and a rage overcomes me where I want to remove myself instantly from the situation. A quote I say often, "I can handle the truth better than a lie any day". Honesty and integrity are among the highest character traits a person can possess.
My life has evolved into an open book...(literally with this blog). Keeping an open life helps to maintain humility. Its harder to be arrogant and prideful when your vulnerabilities are hangin' out there for all to see. Now granted some people do not WANT to know the truth. So I try to stay as open as possible and if someone wants to know the hard stuff they can simply ask.
In my children, they were taught the concept of integrity from the time they were two years old. My biggest selling point to them was that they can always tell me the truth and we can work it out sensibly. We spent time talking through things and learned about responsibility and consequence. They are definitely developing into confident and honest children. On the subject of honesty things are pretty peaceful in the Thomas household. But if they lie....well then... "the wrath of your mother shall consume you!".
So, you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when my nine year old son stood in front of me and told a bold face lie....a seemingly harmless lie, not one filled with guile, but a lie none-the-less.
It was a quick opportunistic lie...real simple. He was supposed to eat his hamburger...instead he let Kissy (the dog) eat it when I left the room. I came back quicker than he thought I would. I asked about the burger (already knowing what happened--mother's instinct). He said he ate it. I looked at him long and hard and told him to tell me the truth...and he did. My immediate reaction was to snatch him up!!! It took everything to send him to his room so he could think about it and I could cool off.
On a psychological side note... A spanking was DEFINITELY my first response for punishment as he looked me in my eyes and lied to me! Now, I grew up with a young single mother raising three kids on her own in the projects. There was no room for negotiation. There was no room for words. It was what my mom said and that was it. If you got out of line you got a spanking. It was a simple rule to live by...and we did. As an adult I can appreciate her perspective and I am who I am because of it. However, I run my house a little different. For starters I am not on my own. I have a supportive husband driving this ship. I also don't have the social-economical burdens she had to deal with. So, I am equipped with a different set of tools in my arsenal to deal with situations. But TRUST every fiber of my being wanted to string this boy up!!! Flashes of the movie "The Color Purple" entered my mind---"Beat 'um..."
Ok, so this is what happened.
I was so upset I had tears in my eyes. I sent him to his room for awhile so he could think about what he did. When I went back in his room, we talked for some time and I had him discuss what is harmful about lying and about my disappointment in him. We talked about responsibility of action and HIS part in his choices for what kind of person he want to be. He's growing and I respect who he is as an individual so I was honest with him. I told him I want to give him a spanking, but I'm giving him the opportunity to think about how serious lying is and his responsibility in it. So I asked him to think of a fair punishment for his actions. The end result may very well be a spanking but he will be involved in the decision. Mind you I'm struggling the whole time!!!
He was given some more time and he came back to me and suggested punishment for a week with only being allowed to draw (one of his favorite past times). I changed it to not being able to do anything. So, for a week everyday after school he is to go straight to his room. He's not allowed to do anything except schoolwork and read. NO TV, NO music, NO computer, NO Nintendo, NO Playstation, NO building Legos, NO drawing, and NO playing with Madi. He thought a minute and agreed the punishment was fair. (Personally, I would have taken the spanking! smile)
I was going through so many emotions...I had to text my mom about it. She was extremely supportive and gave some great observations. I was really having a hard time with this one! You can't MAKE someone be truthful. My prayer is that my children learn how to live a life of integrity. I know emotionally I was exhausted. Its a hard enough issue....now try doing all this deep communicating only with sign language!
Later that evening Wave came to me and apologized for lying to me and I grabbed him, hugged him super tight and smothered him with kisses.